Bay Bush Action has been working hard for more than a year on what it admits is an ambitious plan to double the size of its pest control project in Ōpua State Forest, using the highly successful multi-species kill trap, the AT220. The project, Ngahere Ora, will extend the core trapping area deep into the forest, but at a cost of $294,720.

The project has taken a major step forward, however, with DOC granting $86,000 from its Community Conservation Fund.

BBA says the AT220 is the latest in trapping technology, and Ngahere Ora will be the first large project using them.

"We will be doing intensive possum and rat monitoring before and during, with all the data being available for other groups and projects to use," a spokesman said.

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"The traps are battery-powered, which significantly reduces the ongoing cost compared with gas-powered traps.

"They reset themselves 100 times, and also rebait themselves every night. The trigger mechanism is an infrared beam, so the pest doesn't even need to touch anything, lessening the chance of trap shyness."

The trap pictured had caught 17 possums, two rats and a mouse in seven nights. Three months on it had despatched more than 40 possums.

The traps would be on a 75m x 75m grid, ensuring one would be within every rat and possum's territory.

"The other great thing is our volunteers no longer need to scrape out maggoty rats, where there is a real threat of catching leptospirosis. Checking the trap lines becomes enjoyable," the spokesman added, "but the real winners in all this is our amazing native wildlife.

"We still need a further 287 traps to complete the project, but this is a fantastic start. If you are keen to sponsor a trap, please visit our website (www.baybushaction.org.nz) for details."